When it comes to car maintenance, we tend to emphasize things like rotating the tires, changing the oil, and checking other fluid levels. Something we tend to overlook is replacing our windshield wipers. In fact, most of us will let them go until they are on their last leg, barely removing any water and falling apart.

This, of course, is a mistake. Functional windshield wipers are essential to your safety on the road, removing rain, snow, ice, and dirt so you can see clearly. If they aren’t working correctly—or at all—you are a danger to yourself and those around you. To learn about when and how to replace your windshield wipers, read below.

Replace Your Wipers Every 6 to 12 Months

This may sound a little too frequent, but we assure you it’s not. Depending on the conditions where you live, it’s possible that your wipers will remain safe to use for up to a year, but in most areas, six months is the limit. Let’s take a look at why that is.

The primary reason windshield wipers need to be replaced is because they are worn down with use. By nature, they generate a lot of friction, which ultimately wears down the rubber, creating a less effective seal over time. The rubber can also come loose, rendering it completely ineffective. Other problems that can develop from frequent use are cracked and misshapen wipers and lessening of flexibility.

But frequent use is not the only reason wipers need to be replaced. Here in Southern California, our dry and mild climate means that we don’t experience the rain, snow, or ice that wears down wipers in other areas of the country. So you might think that there is less of a need to replace windshield wipers here. While you might be able to go 12 months between replacements, they are still necessary. Here, it’s the heat and the sun that causes damage to the blades, causing them to warp, dry out, and crack.

Better Material Equals a Longer Lifespan

If you really want to make your windshield wipers last longer, the best way to do this is to purchase better wipers. Your standard rubber blades have the shortest lifespan, while silicone blades can last more than a year with proper care, even if you use them frequently. However, since we live in an area without a lot of need to use our windshield wipers, it may be more cost effective to purchase basic blades and replace them more frequently.

Signs that Your Wipers Need to Be Replaced

The most common sign that you need to replace your wipers is streaking when they attempt to wipe the moisture away. Over time, this can turn into large gaps where the wipers are no longer making contact with the glass. Visual cues are not the only signs, either; squeaking and chattering sounds also indicate the need for replacement.

In more severe cases, the wipers will be visibly broken or the rubber will come off. In addition to posing a safety risk, this can cause damage to the glass from metal scraping against it. If you notice any signs that your wipers need to be replaced, it is vital that you do so immediately.

Replacing Your Windshield Wipers

Replacing windshield wipers is a pretty simple task. The first thing to do is measure the blades or check your manual for the correct size, then head to your local auto parts store and purchase the right blades for your car. Once you have them, remove the old wiper by lifting it away from the windshield and pressing on the tabs where the wiper meets the arm, pulling the wiper out. Then pull the new wiper onto the arm, listening for the clicking out that signals it’s in place. Lower the arm gently back to the windshield, and once both new wipers are on, test them to be sure they are working and in place.

Hub Auto Supply Can Handle Your Windshield Wiper Needs

Here at Hub Auto Parts, we carry wipers in a variety of lengths and materials, making it easy for you to get the wipers you need. And if you would prefer not to install them yourself, we are happy to do the job for you. As soon as you notice a problem with your wipers, stop on in and get it taken care of.